Protecting Outdoor Workers From The West Nile Virus

With the West Nile Virus still posing as a threat in many US states, it pays for people to become more aware and minimize the risks. Those who are always working outdoors may be facing a bigger risk of possibly being infected by mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended certain measures to help lessen the risks of outdoor workers from the threat of WNV.

Outdoor workers such as gardeners, farmers, painters, roofers, construction workers and others should be more ware of the threat of WNV. They have the higher risk of being bitten by WNV carrying mosquitoes that may transfer the virus into them. Not only that, workers handling animals may also be at a certain risk of catching WNV since there is a risk of also getting infected by handling infected animal feces or other contaminated material. Outdoor workers may be able to reduce their risks to WNV exposure by taking the following steps:

Use mosquito repellents when outdoors.

It is advisable for outdoor workers to apply insect repellent that contains DEET when they are working outdoors. A repellent that contains more than 20 percent DEET is recommended for a longer period of protection.

Wear protective clothing when working outdoors.

Outdoor workers are also advised to wear long sleeved shirts and long pants to provide cover as much as possible. Permethrin insect repellants should also be sprayed on clothing especially on thin ones since mosquitoes can easily penetrate on them. But it should also be noted that permethrin repellants should only be sprayed on clothing and not applied directly on the skin.

Avoid direct contact with dead animals without adequate protection.

With the WNV threat still high, outdoor workers should take heed of handling dead animals that they may find. These animals may have been killed by WNV and may be considered a high risk. When a dead animal in the vicinity is found, workers should use tools like shovels to avoid direct contact with the body as much as possible. It is also recommended that workers should wear protective barriers such as medical gloves, two pairs if possible, if handling the animal is needed. Workers should keep away as much as possible from having direct contact with the blood and other bodily fluids of the dead animal which may still harbor the virus.



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